Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Strings of Passion" to hit theatres on January 17th...

A new year gift to audiences looking for serious cinema. Winner of 5 Awards and doing the rounds of many International Film Festivals, “Strings of Passion” is all set to hit the theatres this January. “Strings of Passion” is a story of three youths grappling with their own unique situations that make their life go through a emotional roller coaster ride. From winning concerts to winning his father’s fiancée and from writing poems for band to writing a poem for his girlfriend and winning her heart, Strings of Passion will take you on a different high through the most romantic, embarrassing and even thought-provoking moments onscreen. Life seems all good until one day when one of the guys ends up in a ghastly gruesome incident that changes the course of their lives.

With an ensemble cast that includes Zeenat Aman, Shubh Mukherjee, Rajesh Sharma, Indrani Halder and Paru Gambhir supported by the super-talented newbie Avalok Nagpal who has won not one but two Best Actor Awards in the National Category,  “Strings of Passion” is a drama of love, life and passion, set in the City of Joy who have one thing in common - their love for music and life. Also debuting in this 'slice of life' film is the season’s coolest couple Amit Trishaan and Sangita Sonali who we are sure will charm their way into everyone’s hearts.

Produced by Tricolor Creations, Eon Films and Mithuntara Movies and story, screenplay and direction by Sanghamitra Chaudhuri, “Strings of Passion” has six beautiful songs and extensively shot in Kolkata & Mumbai. Winner of Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress Awards, this film is due for release this January 17th both in Hindi & Bengali across Pan India and is going to amaze you, intrigue you and also set you thinking.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Miss India Earth 2013- Shobhita Dhulipalia, supports the ‘Unilever Pureit ‘Protecting Lives Program’

Pureit, world’s largest selling water purifier brand from Hindustan Unilever Ltd has associated with Miss India Earth 2013, Shobhita Dhulipalia to spread awareness about the importance of safe drinking water under its ‘Unilever Pureit Protecting Lives Program’. Integrated Village Development Program (IVDP) is Pureit’s key NGO partner in Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district, where Shobhita spent a few days with the villagers to promote the cause of “Safe Drinking Water”. During her stay at Krishnagiri, Shobhita spoke to the villagers about the need for safe drinking water and also helped install Pureit water purifiers in many households in Thopdikupam village in Krishnagiri district.

Commenting on the initiative, Shobhita said, “I feel proud to be associated with ‘Unilever Pureit Protecting Lives Program’, a unique initiative that provides Pureit water purifiers to the poor through micro-financing, making safe drinking water a reality to these villagers through small installments. Besides providing safe drinking water, the program also creates job opportunities for the locals. Winning the Miss Earth crown will give me a global platform to reach out to NGOs around the world and mobilize support for the cause of ‘Safe Drinking Water’. With this initiative, together we can eradicate water borne diseases and look forward to a safer and healthier Earth. Thanks to Pureit & IVDP, I was able to educate villagers about the significance of safe drinking water and convince them to invest in a water purifier.”

Commenting on the impact of the Unilever Pureit Protecting Lives Program, IVDP Founder and Magsaysay Awardee- Mr. Kulandei Francis said, “United Nations had announced that everyone should get access to safe drinking water and that is when we decided to partner with Unilever Pureit to protect the lives of our people. Pureit is an ideal solution for us as it does not require electricity or running water; is extremely affordable and safe. Under this program, today over 95,000 households of IVDP members have access to safe drinking water through Pureit.”

“Every year, 2 million children around the world die of water borne diseases with 400,000 of these deaths occurring in India alone. Providing safe drinking water can save these lives. We are pleased that Shobhita has joined hands with ‘Unilever Pureit Protecting Lives Program’ which aims at making safe drinking water accessible to one and all,” said Mr. Badri Narayanan, GM (Water) at Hindustan Unilever.

Power packed action with Shaolin Masters hits on Movies Now this November

Movies Now, this month is all about the Shaolin way of spell binding action to defeat your enemy!  This blockbuster genre, which is a favorite among viewers, is back to mesmerize with a stellar line up of the best of Shaolin.

Known for its stunts, action and innumerable fist fights, this incredibly popular genre enthralls one and all! Unlimited in possibilities and quick paced, the blockbusters are designed to keep your eyes as active as your mind. Every Monday- Thursday at 9pm, the Shaolin Masters will feature genres heavyweights like Bruce Lee, Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Angela Mao and many more in a star-studded affair certain to please their fans.Catch the Kung Fu Legends in 16 crazy blockbusters, 4 of which will be showcased on Movies Now, the number one destination for this genre, for the very first time!

Get ready  as the stalwarts of the martial arts not only defend themselves and strike back but capture your eye-balls like never before. This season will not only amplify the action, but will be lethal! Enjoy the daily dose of thrilling action you need with the Shaolin Masters. Don’t miss Karate Kid,  Incredible Kung Fu Mission, Fight the fight, Disciples of 36th Chamber,  Drunken Master 2, Hero, IP man 2, Rumble in the Bronx and many more  only on Movies Now.

Get ready for the deadly dose of action with Shaolin Masters on Movies Now! 

Varun Dhawan takes credit for launching Arjun Kapoor! Talks about friendship, relationships and the nuances that make him a GeNext star

Having king of comedies – director David Dhawan as a father did not make life easy for Varun Dhawan. A self-proclaimed entertainer from childhood, Varun ended up dancing at various family functions though his interest lied in wrestling at that point in time! This week he talks about his experiences and life’s valuable lessons on zoOm’s new show GeNext- The Future of Bollywood!

This newbie has managed to grab eyeballs with his sincere performance in Student Of the Year and is cashing in on all the adulation coming his way. However, unlike his image of a dedicated and sincere student on-screen, this star kid lived life on the edge in his teens. From getting caught while cheating in the exam to wiping out the scores from his answer sheet with white ink, Varun was never a teacher’s pet let alone be student of the year!

Varun may have been a star child but he had to slog it out with the rest of the lot in college to bag his first ever role as a watchman! Humbled with the fan following, this actor has served his term as a director as well and claims to have originally launched Arjun Kapoor in a short film called The White Mountain in college. Don’t miss Arjun revealing the tricks his mentor taught him while shooting this movie on a meager budget of Rs. 5000/-

Catch Varun spill the beans on his most embarrassing moments in Nottingham, England when the actor was busted while trying to practice dialogues and entertaining himself in his room only on zoOm this Monday!

If you ever wondered what the true equation was between Alia and Varun, watch the actor speak up on his relationship with her and his first crush only on zoOm. Catch Sana Khan, Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra, Kajol, Karan Johar and Uncle Manish Malhotra share some intimate details about the actor this Monday night!

Tune in to GeNext, The Future of Bollywood - Monday, 18th Nov 2013 at 8pm only on zoOm - India’s No. 1 Bollywood channel.

The much awaited Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2013 is finally here

Over the next four days, over 120 stalwarts and enthusiasts will converge at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), India's premier cultural institution, to savour Mumbai’s most awaited literary festival, which includes Tata Literature Live! First Book Award and Landmark Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award.

The shortlist for the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award, an award instituted to honor promising talent in the field of literature, was announced today. This year, the award will be given for two In the fiction category, the shortlisted authors are Chetan Raj Shrestha, a 34 year old architect from Sikkim, Gangtok, for his book, ‘The King’s Harvest’; Shovan Chowdhury, a Delhi-based amateur humorist, for ‘The Competent Authority; and Srikumar Sen, ex-journalist from The Times for the Non-fiction category shortlist comprises Ananya Vajpeyi, a senior fellow with the American Institute of Indian Studies, for her book, ‘Righteous Republic’; Saba Naqvi, political editor of Outlook magazine, for ‘In Good Faith’; and Peter Smetacek, an authority on Indian butterflies and moths, Veteran author Mark Tully, social commentator Santosh Desai, senior journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, COO, Landmark, Ashutosh Pandey and Festival Director, Anil Dharker are the jury for this award.

Amish Tripathi, the bestselling author of the Shiva Trilogy, Festival Director, Anil Dharker, Dr. Mukund Rajan, Brand Custodian and Chief Ethics Officer of Tata Sons, and Khushroo Suntook, Chairman, NCPA, unveiled the brochure of the festival, at a press briefing today, heralding the start of Gracing the event, this year, are writers and thinkers like Sir Nicholas Hytner, Nik Gowing, Ian Jack, Farrukh Dhondy, Francesca Segal, Amitava Kumar, Charles Correa, Prof Rohit Deshpande, Girish Karnad, Lord Meghnad Desai, Ravi Venkatesan, James Astill, Sir Mark An interesting event to watch out for is an exhibition of unique cricket memorabilia by Boria Majumdar that will coincide with Sachin Tendulkar’s participation in his career’s 200th and last Test.

To observe the centenary of the Nobel Prize to Rabindranath Tagore, the festival will proudly launch Harvard professor Sugata Bose’s new translation of Gitanjali. Psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar’s book, Young Tagore, will also be released on the occasion. In keeping with the festival’s tradition, there will be a special honour for outstanding contribution to the Indian literary scene. This year’s recipient, Khushwant Singh, will be felicitated with the Landmark Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award. In light of his accomplishments, Khushwant Singh was a natural choice for the award this year.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mukund Rajan said, “The Tata group is delighted to present the Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest 2013 – a platform that offers India’s literature enthusiasts an opportunity to experience diverse literature from across the globe. The festival has a fabulous line-up of writers, thinkers and artists who will stimulate intellectual dialogue through debates, panel discussions and performances.

The Tata group has been a patron of art and culture from its inception and Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest is a manifestation of the same heritage. Through this initiative, the group endeavours to promote the cause of Literature and give a boost to the literary culture in the country across all age groups, especially among the younger generation. In the festival, platforms like Tata Literature Live! First Book Award have been developed to discover and encourage new talent thus pushing the boundaries of creativity. We wish the shortlisted candidates the very best of luck.”

Anil Dharker says: "Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest, is not only Mumbai`s own international literary festival, it is now recognised internationally as one of our country`s very best litfests. As always it will feature literature in all its forms, presented by the liveliest minds, with engaging interaction between audiences and participants. The line-up is exciting; entry is free, so anyone who loves words and ideas should block these four days.”

Amish Tripathi said, “Exchanging ideas and perspectives with fellow authors, writers, readers and artists from around the world is an inimitable experience indeed. To prospects of interacting with fellow literary enthusiasts at a platform like the Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest is exciting. I am really looking forward to this and will be happy to be a part of it.”

Khushroo Suntook mentioned, “The NCPA continues to be happy to be associated with Tata Literature Live, which has now become a part of Mumbai’s cultural calendar. It is also delighted to make its spaces available to the many intellectually stimulating discussions that emanate from these meetings. This year, once again a fine array of writers and thinkers will participate and I am sure that Mumbaikars are in for stimulating four days.”

Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest will present all four verticals of literature - fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays. Each day will see engaging panel discussions; book launches and conversations between eminent authors, publishers and literary agents; poetry readings; and engrossing talks and lectures by eminent experts.

Among the performances will be: Martin Kiszko’s ‘More Green Poems for a Blue Planet’; Alyque Padamsee’s ‘Arthur Miller: An Actor's Godsend’ and Antigone’s ‘A Stage Reading’. Naseeruddin Shah will present extracts from Sadat Hasan Manto’s stories. Among the plays will be a play for National Children’s Day, Mr. Jeejeeboy and the Birds; the sensation from the Edinburgh Festival, The Price of Everything; the much acclaimed Holocaust love story from Britain, The Tin Ring; The Killing of Dussasana, an incredible blend of Spanish Flamenco and Kathakali; the Mumbai premiere of an acclaimed play from Chennai, How to Skin a Giraffe and a unique show designed around music, literature and Sufi music provided by Ahmedabad’s renowned Deewana group.

Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest will present for the first time an art and photography exhibition which investigates the relationship between literature and art by inviting artists to create art works inspired by Khushwant Singh’s autobiography, Truth, Love and a Little Malice. On display will be paintings and photographs from illustrious artists like Amit Ambalal, Anjolie Ela Menon, Arpana Caur, Raghu Rai, Clare Arni, Desmond Lazaro, Gigi Scaria and many other eminent artists.

Tata Literature Live! has grown exponentially in terms of depth, quality and popularity on a year-on-year basis. It has become immensely popular in Mumbai because it looks at literature in a manner that complements the spirit of Mumbai: lively, energetic, free-wheeling and cosmopolitan.

The festival will be free and on a first-come, first-served basis. More details about entry are available on the festival website, www.tatalitlive.in

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rajula – A Himalayan painting on celluloid...

Imagine bards in the hilly region of Kumaon, Uttarakhand, sing and enact the love story of a brave, ingenious girl and a charismatic king. Or if one has grown up in the lap of Himalayas in Uttarakhand, they are sure to have grown up hearing and listening to the 700 years old folk tale of Rajula-Malushahi by their grandmothers over those cold sultry winter nights. The story is passed on by word of mouth for over 10 centuries from one generation to another. However, a folk tale is just not a story weaved to put kids to sleep. The sheer power of these folk tales lies in the wondrous co-existence of fantasy with reality. It effortlessly merges into one's stream of consciousness thereby shaping their world, as it shows their struggle and how these folk heroes dealt with odds and evens in similar situations and circumstances. This is what director Nitin Tewari attempted to decipher in his debut film "Rajula - A tale from Himalays" as he weaves a story in the backdrop of modern day exigencies that threaten the survival of this precious piece of Indian folklore.

The film is a wondrous attempt to portray the story of Rajula-Malushahi - a charming folk tale of Kumaon through a romantic narrative of the hero Ravi (Karan Sharma) and the girl Bhawna (Ashima Pandey) he befriends in Kumaon valley. Given that the film doesn't have any known face to make it a seller (except for Hemant Pandey who is playing "Puran Mama" in the film) the film is painted on a big canvas with myriad personal experiences and emotions, as the story flows wonderfully incorporating the traditions and the wonderful landscape that the region has to offer. What shines through this film is the epic ballad narrated interspersed through the personal emotions of Ravi, including his parental duty (especially getting his mother her long lost respect in his Nanaji's family) and his personal love.

While the film is rich in elements and suspense, simplicity and elegance characterise this film. The trickiest part was the choice of treatment to the subject. The director integrated the story with the beautiful landscapes of Uttarakhand making them a part or character in the story than just scenery. The use of vibrant, colourful imagery and profound yet simple storytelling, use of old classical cinema style, simple block and pan shots in most of the film were adopted as measures, giving it a realistic visual appeal. The film has shaped brilliantly and depicts an excellent picture of the Land of Gods - Uttarakhand that is known for its natural beauty and the breathtaking sights around the Himalayas, the Bhabhar and the Terai as it paints a rich canvas on celluloid.

However, the USP of the film is its narration and the excellent depiction of the Himalayan flora and fauna, the lifestyle and culture of the people of the region. Also worth noting in this film is the sheer artistic richness of the story and the folk songs that are woven in the storyline. The sheer power of the Jaagar Geet and the use of the Uttarakhandi language (Kumaoni and Garhwali) flows effortlessly in the film. The director has made a good attempt to use it in the films' wondrous narrative that oscillates between fantasy and reality as it mirrors the existing reality with the surrealism of folklore amidst the muti-ethnic character of life in Kumaon.

In conclusion, this is a wonderful attempt to revive an ancient story through the narrative of a feature film for those unknown of this folklore. Except for a few technical glitches and a bit of the rapid uneasy camera work, t
he lead actor Karan Sharma who has a theatrical background has done a good job and carries the entire film on his shoulders. Supporting him is the leading lady Ashima Pandey, Anil Ghildiyal (Elder mama), Hemant Pandey and the locals who also doubled as actors for the film. But the sync doesn't fall out of place and gives you a feeling of being there, seen that. I congratulate Nitin Tewari for keeping the soul of the Kumaon region alive by retelling and bringing on screen this beautiful folk tale without losing its soul. Watch it for an experience.

For those who are keen for a peek into the storyline, here it is..

A tribute to both the women of India and the holy land of Uttarakhand, Rajula digs deep into the psyche of love and dedication of a woman. It talks about the changing dynamics in her different relationships when she falls in love, be it with her father or brother or her lover. This love story explores the strength of a woman and the choices and sacrifices she must make to achieve her love.

Ravi, while searching for a unique love story for his new documentary film project, stumbles upon a riveting mythical story of Rajula-Malushahi, a 700 years old folk tale of Uttarakhand. With more than 50 different versions of the story available, no one seems to exactly know what really happened and he decides to dig deeper and explore it further.

Just then he is invited by his uncle, Puran Mama (His mother’s younger brother) for Jaagar, a traditional ceremony of calling the spirits of Gods, being held at his Nanaji (His mother’s father)’s village home. Ravi is reluctant to go as his Nanaji’s family had always treated his mother (who is now deceased) as an outcast after she ran away with Ravi’s father. He is well aware of the hatred his elder uncle, Mathura Mama has in his heart forhis mother, even 25 years after she left their house. Puran Mama convinces him, telling him that time is going to heal everything.

Ravi decides to go to Uttarakhand for his documentary film and pays a short visit first to his Nanaji’s Village. But things take a very ugly turn, when during the Jaagar it is revealed that Ravi’s deceased Nanaji is in unrest after his death and that the gods are unhappy with the whole family. Ravi’s mother is accused by Mathura Mama of being the real reason behind all the miseries and problems the family has been suffering from.

Ravi snaps all his ties with his Nanaji’s family and starts his research on Rajula Malushahi. While researching, he meets, Bhawna and falls in love with her. But she, fearing a backlash from her family on choosing someone not from her caste, resists his love. Ravi confronts her and breaks all his ties with her and leaves in anger.

He continues his research on Rajula Malushahi and discovers the real bond between Rajula and her father, Sunpati. Ravi gets an uneasy feeling about how a father like Sunpati could be so cruel to her daughter that he killed her lover, Malushahi as depicted in most of the versions of the story. And just when his mind starts cluttering with all the doubts and confusions about his mother, Bhawna & Rajula his life suddenly takes a new turn and one by one he starts getting all his answers.

.....specially contributed by Mohan Das

Friday, October 18, 2013

After direction, Jugal Hansraj gets back to acting - this time on television though - To star in Yeh Hai Aashiqui

The popular child actor, who was first seen in Masoom, grew up to play 'Sameer' in the Yash Chopra biggie, Mohabbatein along with Shah Rukh Khan will soon be seen on Yeh Hai Aashiqui. The actor who was last seen in Madhuri Dixit's Aaja Nachle, has been roped in to play a significant character on bindass' much talked about show. Yeh Hai Aashiqui, the show that chronicles stunning real life stories, has once again astonished its audiences and will portray a beautiful love story presenting the chocolate boy, Jugal Hansraj.

Talking about his character in Yeh Hai Aashiqui, Jugal said, “I’m really excited to be apart of Yeh Hai Aashiqui since I’ll be facing the camera after a while now. I’ve been behind the camera and directing films for sometime. So I decided to take it up because it’s a very popular show among the young audiences. The love story I’m doing is really nice and my character, which is of a Badminton coach, is Besides this talented actor, Vikrant Massey will be seen as the show host on Yeh Hai Aashiqui.

Do not miss Jugal Hansraj's comeback. Watch Yeh Hai Aashiqui on 27th Ocotber at 7 pm only on bindass

Young Guns of Bollywood dare to bare on zoOm!

Ever felt Aditya Kapoor’s wit and smile was his key to success or Arjun Kapoor’s strong rugged persona makes him the star we all know him to be? Starting 21st October 2013, now get to know them a whole lot better on an exciting and sensational new show-Genext, the future of Bollywood only on zoOm, India’s No. 1 Bollywood Channel.

Be it the chocolate boy Varun Dhawan or the snazzy but sweet Aliya Bhatt, zoOm gets these young guns of Bollywood talking. Opening up the Pandora’s Box, GenNext is all set to spice up the room with the actors talking about their personal and professional lives in a no holds barred conversation! Right from their first crush to their first dialogue, from the food they relish to the music that’s made them groove, the school scams to their crazy fans, the show is designed to enthrall every Bollywood buff!

That’s not all! The half-hour show every Monday at 8pm will also have tit-bits from the people closest to these young stars. Yes, that’s right! Get to know all the gossip and mischievous stories from their family and peers as well!

The first episode of the show will feature none other than the one who took the nation by storm with Paani da raang. Set your date with the wonder boy of Bollywood Ayushman Khuranna this Monday at 8:00pm. Did you know this hunk was ridiculed by a cabbie who believed that Ayushman didn’t have what it takes to be an actor in Bollywood! We know of Guru Dakshina that is offered by a disciple to his mentor as a mark of respect. However, Ayushman is the very first disciple who got a Shishya Dakshina from his mentor John Abraham! Catch him as he reveals all this and a lot more. Hear what his friends, colleagues, brother and director Shoojit Sircar have to say about this talented actor-singer-lyrist!

Tune into to Genext, The future of Bollywood starting 21st October, 2013, every Monday @ 8 pm only on zoOm – India’s No. 1 Bollywood channel.

Rajkumar Yadav to star in Yeh Hai Aashiqui’s upcoming episode to promote SHAHID with Prabhleen

Yeh Hai Aashiqui, the show that never ceases to surprise it’s audiences with unconventional love stories and a star-studded cast every week, goes a level higher this time. The latest addition to this list is the critically acclaimed actor Rajkumar Yadav, who will be seen playing the role of a lawyer just like in his upcoming movie Shahid. The actor will be accompanied by his co-star, Prabhleen, who will be seen in the episode playing a critical role. The episode which will feature a story about a couple which bears similarity to Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma starrer Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, will have Shakti Arora and Anupriya Kapoorin the lead roles.

Talking about his experienceon Yeh Hai Aashiqui, Rajkumar said, “It was a fantastic experience. I had a great time with everyone in the team. It is such a great team and they actually made my job easier. I have seen few episodes of Yeh Hai Aashiqui and it is phenomenal. The kind of work they are doing and the stories they are showing is very different. “

Rajkumar Yadav who has essayed impactful characters in films like Kai Po Che, Shaitan, Ragini MMS, Love Sex aur Dhokha and many more, is all set for his upcoming movie Shahid which traces the story of a slain human rights activist and lawyer.

Along with Rajkumar and Prabhleen’s presence on the show, Yeh Hai Aashiqui will see popular actor, Vikrant Massey as the show host. Watch Rajkumar Yadav and Prabhleen on bindass’ show Yeh Hai Aashiqui at 7pm on 20th October, 2013 only on bindass.

15th Mumbai Film Festival commences with grandeur : Costa Gavras and Kamal Haasan conferred lifetime achievement awards

The excitement was palpable as the Emcee welcomed Srinivasan Narayanan, festival director of the 15th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival presented by Reliance Entertainment and organized by Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI). Introducing the 8 day film lovers delight he said, “The Mumbai Film Festival has become an integral part of this city’s culture. For these 8 days, the city breathes cinema. We are pleased that such distinguished personalities have accepted our invitation to partake in the 15th edition and join in celebrating the best of world Cinema”

Applause continued to echo through the auditorium as Shyam Benegal, Chairman, MAMI was invited on stage to address the gathering. It only stopped once the revered Benegal began to speak. “Without taking much time, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all our guests. I would also like to thank and Mrs. Ambani for their continued support to the Mumbai Film Festival. ”

Ceremony and tradition have always adorned the Film Festival. Shyam Benegal was joined by MAMI trustees, Amit Khanna, Ambassador France, Spanish Director and the guest of honour, acclaimed actor Sonakshi Sinha as they lit the lamp, kick starting the festival on an auspicious note. However, it was strange that honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan was not invited for the lamp lighting ceremony.

The impressive list of guests continued to be unveiled as the esteemed Jury members of the four competition categories: International Competition, Dimensions Mumbai, Harmony Celebrate Age and India Gold 2013 were introduced. Present at the event were jury members Bruce Beresford, Siddiq Barmark, Deepa Mehta, Waris Hussein, Roger Garcia, Asghar Farhadi, Konkona Sen Sharma amongst others.

The evening moved ahead with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award, which was bestowed on French auteur Costas Gavras by Benegal and national award winning actor/ director Kamal Haasan by the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan.
Costa Gavras was eloquent as he praised the Film Fest, “I’m happy to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mumbai Film Festival. It is wonderful to see Indian cinema has a large local audience watching the films. I wish the Film Festival the best of luck and hope there are people who attend the various events.”

Kamal Haasan in his soft spoken manner addressed the audience, “There never was a method to my acting. I simply had great teachers, some of whom are present here tonight. I respect them a lot. Festivals have also taught me a lot and I am humbled to have received this honour. I thank the Mumbai Film Festival for promoting talent such as myself.”

Speaking on the occasion and offering the festival his support, honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan said, “The state of Maharashtra supports and will continue to support this festival. I have been a huge fan of Gavras and Kamal Haasan. Mumbaikars are in for a great week ahead and my best of wishes to the 15th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival and happy viewing.”

The other celebrities spotted at the event were Tisca Chopra, Divya Dutta, Konkona Sen Sharma, Divya Dutta, Ramesh Sippy, Vikramaditya Motwane, Nandita Das and many more.

Heralding the upcoming outstanding lineup of films, the opening film The Butler, directed by Lee Daniels, starring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey and John Cusack, captivated everyone in the audience.

The organizers, MAMI, ensured day 1 was the perfect curtain raiser. With over 200 films from 65 countries, including special tributes to Yash Chopra, Rituparno Ghosh, Pran; master-classes by industry veterans in the coming days, the 15th Mumbai Film Festival promises to be a grand event for all cinema aficionados.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pick up the best screenwriting skills at a special workshop at the 15th Mumbai Film Festival

If you’ve always marveled at the wonders of cinema and wished you too could create compelling stories, do mark mid-October in your calendar right away. The 15th Mumbai Film Festival in association with Equinox Europe is conducting a two-day workshop on the 14th and 15th of October at the conference room of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Andheri.

On the agenda are pitching, screen writing and script development, i.e. skills to take your budding film career forward. The workshop will be conducted by the Chair of the Melbourne International Film Festival and eminent script advisor Claire Dobbin along with James Hart, producer and screen-writer having worked with some of the top studios of the world.

Dobbin, who is conducting the first day’s activities has been at the heart of script writing workshops in Australia & New Zealand and has been a guest lecturer at the Abu Dhabi Film festival. As the Senior Script Executive at the Australian Film Commission (AFC), she bettered many Australian films with her touch, such as Road to Nhill, Small Treasures and Mallboy.

The second day’s writing guru has written/produced Hook, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Muppet Treasure Island, Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life among others. ‘Never grow up, never give up’ is Hart's way of life which comes through in the animated feature, EPIC in which he is co-writer and the Executive Producer.

Beginning at 9.30 am on Monday the 14th, Claire and Jim will listen to idea pitches and give their feedback. By noon, they will delve into the world of screenwriting and script development. Stretching till 4 pm with a lunch break in between the session will discuss themes, concept lines, structure and characters. And of course, there’s question hour from 4.15 – 5:00 pm.

Day 2 begins with the screening of Bram Stoker's Dracula followed by lunch. Post this, James Hart will begin 'deconstructing Dracula' and discuss the finer nuances of script writing. Armed with their new found knowledge, participants will get to pitch ideas once more. The whirlwind workshop will wind up at 5 pm and is open to all film writing and cinema enthusiasts.

To register, visit:  http://www.mumbaifilmfest.org/index.php?page=workshop

Angry Bird Chocolates launched first time in India by The Cocoa Trees

Singapore based brand, The Cocoa Trees has recently introduced internationally renowned Fazer Angry Birds Chocolates first time in India to its vast range of chocolates for its Indian audience. The Angry birds and the pigs have now turned into sweets, lollipops and chewing gums.

The Cocoa Trees have launched Fazer Angry Bird Sweets, Lollipops, Chocolate Eggs and Chewing gums into the market.

Angry Bird Lollipop: Super popular Fazer Angry Birds have now wrapped themselves in lollipop costumes. The three fruity flavoured, groovy looking lollipops have a sudden surprise hidden inside. Once you’ve enjoyed the great taste long enough the piquant powder fills your mouth. Three birdilicious flavours have only natural colours and flavourings. The Angry Bird Lollipops are available in three flavours strawberry, pear and cola at Rs.290 for 120gm.

Angry Bird Chewing Gum: The super popular Fazer Angry Birds are now also chewing gums! Tooth-friendly chewing gums come in four flavours, summer, strawberry and cool, refreshing eucalyptus at Rs.495 for 70 gm.

Angry Bird Chocolate Eggs: Fazer Angry Birds Surprise Eggs are really big milk chocolate eggs with surprises in every chocolate egg at Rs. 795 for 100 gm.

Angry Bird Candy Bags: Fazer Angry Bird Candy Bags contains 5 unique characters and shapes, from strawberry Red Bird, to the crunchy and chewy caramel eggs. The whole amount of bird energy has bounced into the candy bag. The colourful and tangy birds taste like familiar strawberry, spiky lime, delightful orange, wild berries, and punchy cola with a fresh lemon filling at Rs. 190 for 120 gm.

Fazer Angry Bird Collection is now available at all The Cocoa Trees outlets at Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Goa

‘The Fifth Estate’ announced as the Closing Film of the 15th Mumbai Film Festival

As the city’s most eagerly awaited cultural event, the 15th Mumbai Film Festival, organized by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image draws closer, it has been revealed that this edition of the festival will conclude with the screening of ‘The Fifth Estate” as its Closing Film, a dramatic thriller directed by Bill Condon.

 The Fifth Estate is a dramatic thriller based on real events that reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century's most fiercely debated organization. The film is co-produced by DreamWorks and Participant Media and opened the  Toronto International Film Festival 2013.

The story begins as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistle-blowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world's most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society-and what are the costs of exposing them.

The festival promises to feature a lineup of over 200 movies from 65 countries and  has announced new initiatives as part of the Mumbai Film Mart (Filmy Room and India Project Room) and a brand new Experimental film section to the festival.

The 15th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival will be held from the 17th - 24th October, 2013 at Liberty  Cinemas and Metro Cinema as the main festival venues and Cinemax, Andheri as the satellite venue.

The Spiciest Bollywood News show on TV now gets Spicier! Catch Sonam Kapoor on the sets of Planet Bollywood News for a steamy new revelation

In a Bollywood crazy nation like ours, a constant and almost insatiable craving for some controversial scoops or insider updates on what’s happening in the off-screen lives of stars we worship or even despise, is quite the usual thing. And when it comes to choosing a destination that can be relied upon to fulfill this eternal craving, only the spiciest one can make the cut. With its sensational revelations and tongue-in-cheek commentary, Planet Bollywood News has consistently been the no. 1 choice of the viewers.

Acknowledging this support from its loyal fans, the show is taking the next step towards whetting their appetite for Bollywood News with the launch of a new avatar! Starting Wed, Oct 9th, Planet Bollywood News will be airing full one hour episodes every Monday to Friday, 7 pm to 8 pm. It’s a definite promise to ‘hit the spot’ as the show prepares to bring you more in-depth coverage, break more sensational secrets and steamy stories in an hour like no show has done before!

Its not just the fans of Bollywood, but celebrities too who follow the show closely. Congratulating zoOm and the Planet Bollywood team, Bollywood’s deadly diva Sonam Kapoor said – “The show is very entertaining and informative. Whether I am in town or out travelling to remote places for shoots, this is one show that always keeps me updated about all that’s happening in the industry.” Well its not just Sonam who follows this shows for her regular dose of Bollywood, but her grandmother too! She further quips: “My grandmother hears stuff about me on this show and calls me up to ask whether it really happened or not.” Sonam would be gracing the launch of the new format on Wednesday. Known for being a fashionista, a fine actress and one who speaks her mind and makes the most quotable quotes, Planet Bollywood News could not have hoped for a more glamorously sensational guest to grace the launch of its new format. As the show braces to press the restart button on 9th October, with Sonam around, we are assured that it is going to be a blast!

Starting 9th October, tune into Planet Bollywood News every Monday-Friday 7 pm to 8 pm only on zoOm – India’s No. 1 Bollywood Channel. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Celeberate Navratri with modern and international twist with acclaimed singer musician Raghav Sachar’s unique ‘Glam Garba’ @ VR Surat

This Navratri, VR Surat, an integrated community-oriented premium Lifestyle Shopping Center, will play host to Glam Garba, an exclusive invite-only event only for VR Surat shoppers. The event is a two-day Garba celebration on October 11th and 12th that gives the traditional dance and festivities a modern and international twist. VR Surat collaborated with acclaimed musician, performer and VR Surat Music Ambassador Raghav Sachar to conceptualise and create this unique event. Westside, Global Desi and AND are ‘Style Partners’  for the event. VR Surat is running a ‘Shop the Look’ campaign for Glam Garba to drive the season’s latest fashion trends.

Speaking on behalf of VR Surat, Mr. Paresh Mishra, Director of Operations- Western Region, Virtuous Retail said “We are very excited as we mark the Phase II Retail Launch of VR Surat with ‘Glam Garba’ on the occasion of Navratri. Surat is a cosmopolitan city with strong cultural roots, and we are delighted to take the idea of Garba global through this unique event. We believe this new format will attract diverse audiences and broaden the festival’s participation across communities."

“It is my absolute pleasure to present ‘Glam Garba’ at VR Surat. The concept in itself will attract the youth to enjoy Navratri in a new avatar. There will be Bollywood, Spanish, Brazilian, House and Electronic dance music mixed with traditional Garba songs. The Runway at VR Surat gives me an opportunity to transform the Center into a Night Club and present something truly unique for Surtis. So put your sticks together... For Glam Garba!” said Raghav Sachar who will perform along with Sonu Kakkar, DJ Akbar Sami, DJ A-Myth and Jankee, at VR Surat on the 11th and 12th of October.

Established in 2007, Virtuous Retail (VR) is an institutionally owned developer-operator of community-oriented premium Lifestyle Shopping Centres in India’s top cities. Virtuous Retail’s pan-India portfolio includes prime city centre locations in Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Surat and Kolkata making it the leading platform of quality retail real estate in one of the world’s most attractive consumer markets for organized retail.

Raghav Sachar is an Indian singer, music director, and musician, who has the distinction of playing over 33 musical instruments. A graduate of the internationally acclaimed Monash University and Conservatory in Australia, Raghav started his musical journey at the age of four. With over 100 songs, and 2000 shows to his credit, Raghav is a prolific and much-loved performer, who has also sung for movies, and released 12 albums, of which eight were for his own label.

Bollywood finds a new found fan in Kelly Rowland: X Factor USA’ Season 3 judge is all praise for Indian movies and Punjabi music

Indian music and Indian cinema has been receiving worldwide recognition lately with more and more Indian artists carving a niche for themselves on the international scene. Hence, it is no surprise that former Destiny’s Child and global singing sensation Kelly Rowland is all praises for Bollywood and Punjabi music in particular. The new judge of The X Factor USA, which currently airs on BIG CBS LOVE, recently spoke about ‘Bhangra’ and desi movies amongst other things.
On the topic of Bollywood movies, the singer-turned-actress surprisingly revealed, “I watch Bollywood films, I mean I love Bollywood films! They are some of the best films. How detailed they are, how much fun they are, how much color there is and how there’s so much going on, it’s just really entertaining.” So does she herself being a part of the Indian film industry in the near future? To this the ‘Commando’ singer excitedly replies, “That would be very cool!”

Next up, she talks about her area of expertise – music - and reveals that Punjabi music has grown on her. Commenting on the Punjabi tracks she had recently heard she adds, “Across the board it’s like jamming. If I hear this, I will start dancing, that’s fun! I don’t know what the lyrics say but whatever it is it has a nice little swing to it. I love the beats in between”, she says.

By the looks of it Indian fans might just catch a Honey Singh style chart topper from the Grammy- Award winning artist. While we wait for an awesome collaboration and an impressive Bollywood debut, we can catch her as the new judge on The X Factor USA Season 3, every weekend exclusively on BIG CBS LOVE.

Don’t miss ‘The X Factor Season 3 every Saturday and Sunday at 9 PM, exclusively on BIG CBS Love.

Bhaji in Problem - trailer launched with Ranbir Kapoor starrer Besharam

The wait for the Official Trailer release of the biggest Punjabi Blockbuster of the year, ‘Bhaji in Problem’ ended today with Grazing Goat Pictures launching the much awaited trailer amidst great reception and laughter.

‘Bhaji in Problem’ is Grazing Goat Picture’s second regional film production after the poignant Marathi film ’72 Miles Ek Pravas’ which was directed by National Award Winning Director, the Late Rajiv Patil of Jogwa fame. With ‘Bhaji in Problem’, Akshay Kumar and Ashvini Yardi are all set to give their audiences a comical relief with their latest regional venture, a Punjabi heart warmer called ‘Bhaji in Problem’.

Soon after the trailer was launched with Besharam's release, audiences were found tweeting and describing the trailer as hilarious and expressing their eagerness to watch the film. Some people also called it the ‘Dhamaka’ trailer, re-instating the fact that the film indeed looks as a promising blockbuster for all Punjabi and Comedy film buffs.

The film is the story of Gurpreet Ghuggi who plays the character of Sundeep Cheema, juggling between two wives. His life ends up in a complete chaos with the entry of Gippy Grewal who plays Jeeta and falls in love with Preet played by Ragini Khanna. In this comedy of errors of epic proportions, both sides know the deepest and the most intimate secrets of the other, which each wants to protect at any cost and holds it over the other's head. The film is a budding laugh riot and as one hilarious situation unfolds after another, the film only gets more interesting and engaging.

‘Bhaji in Problem’ stars some of Punjab’s most reputed stars Gippy Grewal and Gurpreet Ghuggi who are joined by Sasural Ghenda Phool’s Suhana Raghini Khanna, and veteran actor Om Puri as central characters. The film is directed by Smeep Kang who has delivered successful hits such as Carry on Jatta and Lucky Di Unlucky Story. The film also sees cricketer Harbajan Singh make a friendly appearance along with producer Akshay Kumar, who a Punjabi himself, having an extended appearance.

Honing in on the huge success of their first film venture, OMG: Oh My God, and their first Marathi film, the critically acclaimed 72 Miles Ek Pravas, Akshay Kumar and Ashvini Yardi have further spearheaded the popularisation of regional cinema with ‘Bhaji in Problem’. In speaking about the trailer launch, Ashvini Yardi said: “After the release of the Teaser Trailer last month, we received a great response and tweets from fans to push the official trailer release to an earlier date. People have been appreciating and loving the trailer and are very much looking forward to watch the film when it releases on the 15th of November.

I as a viewer am not very fluent with my Punjabi but still had a great laugh watching the trailer. Similarly, I can assure you that you don’t necessarily have to know Punjabi to understand and enjoy this film. It will surely tickle your funny bone and is a film to be enjoyed with the entire family.”

Spearheading investment into quality, subject-driven, film-making, Grazing Goat Pictures is taking Indian cinema to new heights with a range of innovative and fresh projects. Renowned for thought-provoking, unique and emotive film making across boundaries and genres, Grazing Goat Pictures delves deep to bring the audience films that are cutting edge and high-concept, resonating with multiple audiences domestically and across shores.

Bhaji in Problem releases on the 15th November 2013.

The talent is better when Simon’s not there - says Demi Lovato on The X Factor USA, Season 3 on BIG CBS Love

When it comes to reality shows, it’s not only the talent that keeps the audiences entertained, but the disagreements amongst the judges also keep the excitement alive. There couldn’t be a better example of this than the infamous bitter sweet relationship between Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato. On a recent episode of X Factor USA, season 3 currently being aired on BIG CBS LOVE, Demi pulled a fast one on Simon’s habit of always being late for the shoot and how the best of talent seems to be taking the stage when he’s not around.

During one of the recent auditions Simon was running late for the shoot and the team decided to commence with the auditions without him. That’s when one of the best performances of the season happened on stage! Demi couldn’t help raving about the performance and she quipped “It’s just me or is the talent better when Simon’s not there.” Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio couldn’t agree more with her, leaving Simon embarrassed in front of the ladies. She was also heard telling Simon, “You know what Simon - I think you may have just learnt your lesson, never to be late again.”

With the final round of auditions in progress and the aspiring contestants being whittled down to the top 40 by the discerning judges, get ready as your favorite contestants prepare to face the most nerve-wrecking task of performing for live audiences.

Don’t miss this exciting episode of the X Factor USA Season 3, Saturday, October 05, 2013 at 9 PM exclusively on BIG CBS Love.